Alas, Poor York

Board of Supervisors chairman is paying the price for his endorsement of Delgaudio.

Last year, Board of Supervisors chairman Scott York raised some eyebrows when he endorsed his controversial colleague Eugene Delgaudio for re-election to the board, despite the fact that York and Delgaudio had often clashed openly during their 12 years together on the board. York also openly wished for an all-Republican board.

As my mother likes to say, “Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.” York got his wish, and now Delgaudio has become his thorniest problem.

On September 25, the Washington Post reported that Donna Mateer, a former aide, accused Delgaudio with improperly using her services – while she was being paid by the county government – for campaign fundraising activities.

She also said Delgaudio’s rants directed at his staff, as well as his racist and homophobic comments, had created a hostile work environment. The Post reported some of Mateer’s allegations were backed up by other former aides.

In March, Mateer complained to the county human resources office and was fired by Delgaudio later that day.

Now, according to the Post, Delgaudio is being investigated by the FBI. And his problems have also become problems for York.

As Leesburg District Supervisor Ken Reid put it, “The integrity of the board as a whole is at stake.”

That’s because York and Vice Chairman Janet Clarke have apparently known about Mateer’s charges for months, and have done little to follow up on possible violations of county policies by Delgaudio – at least, not until the Post broke the story.

York said he asked Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman to look into any possible criminal wrongdoing on Delgaudio’s part. Plowman, like York and Delgaudio a Republican, then relayed the matter to his Democratic counterpart in Arlington County.

Now the Post has reported that Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos declined to pursue the matter because, based on the statement she received from Plowman, she felt that the charges would be difficult to prove in court.

For now, the county isn’t doing anything to investigate any possible violations of law. Instead, upon York’s motion, the board authorized up to $15,000 for the county attorney to hire an “independent” investigator to look into possible violations of county policies.

So, for any wrongdoing to be pinned to Delgaudio hinges on whether the county had adequate policies in place to prevent board members from using their aides for activities that are political or unrelated to county business.

Fortunately, such policies do exist. Since the first board aides were hired in 2001, county policies have clearly stated that the aides’ work activities cannot include political activities or campaigning. The policies have been reaffirmed several times over the years, most recently in 2012.

In 2008, the Board added language to the policies stating that the aides’ “compensable work hours that are paid for with county funds must be in support of county government needs and activities.”

This is important, because Delgaudio has claimed he directed Mateer to develop phone lists that would be used for raising funds for a youth football league. Though York has suggested that this would not violate county policy, it’s quite a stretch to say that fundraising for a charity supports county government needs and activities.

It is now left to the investigator to determine the facts as they relate to these policies.

One only has to read comments on news websites or local political blogs to know that many residents question the independence of an investigator whose hiring was directed by an all-Republican board, including Delgaudio himself. Anything less than some finding of wrongdoing by Delgaudio will look to many people like a whitewash.

That’s why I believe that, if Delgaudio is ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, that finding would have much more credibility if it were issued by a bipartisan panel of former supervisors, rather than the board’s investigator. Democratic former supervisor Susan Buckley, an independent-minded lawyer, would have been an excellent choice to head such a panel.

I’m quite sure York hopes that the hiring of an investigator will ultimately make his Delgaudio problem go away, one way or another. A finding Delgaudio violated county policies would help achieve this, because the board could then determine the appropriate punishment for Delgaudio and declare the matter closed.

At minimum, such punishment would have to include the reimbursement of all county funds paid to Delgaudio’s aides while they were conducting non-county business, and would probably also include reducing or eliminating Delgaudio’s staff budget in the future.

York and seven of his colleagues should be hoping for such an outcome. Because anything less will, as Reid said, call the integrity of the entire board into question.

joe brewer October 25, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Are we to take Reid's word about the integrity of the board when it seems he is definitely challenged integrity wise. York and Clarke need to disclose the documents and end this. The sanctions against Delgaudio will amount to nothing if he is found to be guilty of wrongdoing. As Board members York and Clarke along with Plowman should be able to figure out what happened without spending and wasting $15,000.00 on a outside investigator. Ms. Mateer should be a hero and given a commendation by the board if this proves out.
CH October 25, 2012 at 01:07 PM
The blind endorsement of Delgaudio because he is a Republican is not just York's issue. There are others with that same problem. It really made me look askance at some folk I had long admired.
Satchmo October 25, 2012 at 02:17 PM
This is looking terrible on the LCRC. I am surprised there hasn't been some public statements from them distancing themselves from this obvious mess. It's is creeping from Delgaudio, over to York and Clarke and soon will be a republican issue. Someone needs to publicly take a stand on this thing.
Mitch Steele October 25, 2012 at 02:53 PM
The LCRC is hoping they can ride this out and it simply goes away. Hopefully pressure will continue to be applied. I have a problem with it and have sent several emails to Clark and York, no responsed but thats not really surprising. @Joe the BOS's inaction mandates an external investigation at this point I wont trust anything produced internal by this BOS. Welcome to LoCo a shady place indeed.
joe brewer October 25, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Once the paperwork is released we can all form are own opinion. Funny Mitch everytime I have e-mailed a BOS member I have received a reply within 48 hours, sorry for your troubles. Shady place gets some light when the docs are published!
Lydia Barker October 25, 2012 at 06:44 PM
http://www.realadvocate.org/blog0/delgaudio-shares-constituent-email-with-his-buddies-ridicules-county-resident/ Hardly the first time he's been shown to be a public nuisance!
Rick Tocchet October 25, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Jimbo Barnes is jumping the gun a little bit here, no? Easy Jimbo, that's why God invented investigations.
joe brewer October 25, 2012 at 07:05 PM
There has never been any argument that Eugene is a ass. Did he break any laws I don't want to hear about implied slights, hurt feelings and over sensitive hyperbole. Show the facts and leave the commentary out.
David Weintraub October 25, 2012 at 07:47 PM
joe, that's what Real Advocate is trying to do. We have a huge pile of FOIA responses to go through and analyze, some of which demonstrate inexcusable behavior toward constituents (as in the link posted by Lydia), and some that will be of interest to the independent investigator. All will come to light in due course. I don't want to minimize the kind of behavior toward county residents illustrated by that link, however. It might not be illegal for an elected official to treat people this way, but it should certainly disqualify one from public office. It's despicable.
Jim Barnes October 25, 2012 at 07:51 PM
What I said: "It is now left to the investigator to determine the facts as they relate to thses policies." I'm not prejudging whether Delgaudio did anything wrong. My point was that, if he is cleared of wrongdoing, it would have more credibility coming from a bipartisan panel headed by a Democrat rather than an investigator authorized by an all-Republican board, including Delgaudio himself.
Jonathan Erickson October 25, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Alas, Jim is worried about the credibility of a bipartisan panel headed by a republican. So I take that to mean a republican would whitewash a investigation where a democrat naturally pure as the driven snow would have no axe too grind against a member of a all republican BOS and would render a decision that was truly bipartisan. I wonder? Can't trust York, can't trust Clarke nor the other board members, can't trust Plowman and can't trust Stamos omg the sky is falling but it will be okay in the end because we will waste 15k on a democrat headed investigation team. Hallelujah
David Weintraub October 25, 2012 at 09:18 PM
"worried about the credibility of a bipartisan panel headed by a republican" No, I see nothing remotely like this in what Jim said. He questioned the credibility of an all Republican board that allows the subject supposedly under investigation to vote on his own investigation. That seems quite reasonable. He suggested a bi-partisan panel as an alternative to that.
David Weintraub October 25, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Oh, and it appears that both Plowman (R) and Stamos (D) have done nothing to impeach their own credibility. According to the available evidence, they didn't withhold information, and didn't know that information was being withheld from them.
Jonathan Erickson October 25, 2012 at 10:06 PM
"it would have more credibility coming from a bipartisan panel headed by a democrat". sound like he is doubting the credibility of the board to me. Also" headed by a democrat" so he does not trust a impartial panel of Americans but would trust one if headed by a democrat. can't wait for the postings on real advocate, be complete.. get the info to Plowman and or Stamos and let them decide!
David Weintraub October 25, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Well, there is no bipartisan panel. There is only an all Republican board whose members seem to be going out of their way to protect one of their own, to the extent of hiding a large pile of evidence from prosecutors. Given that sketchy context, in which people will naturally assume a partisan motivation, can you see how a bipartisan panel, appointed by that all Republican board, headed by a Democrat, would make sense if they were interested in countering that assumption? I think that's all Jim was saying, but that's just my opinion. I doubt that we'll see that, however; I believe they are still in the stage of hoping we'll get tired and this will all blow over.
Jonathan Erickson October 25, 2012 at 10:57 PM
It do appear that maybe York and Clarke had a chance too protect one of their own I cannot in any circumstance call into question other board members trustworthiness since they have not been privy to the docs themselves. By inferring that a democrat would be better then a republican reeks of partisanship to me. As far as I know our Board members are working for the good of Loudoun County as is Plowman who is being paid as our attorney not the democrats attorney, or the independents attorney or the republicans attorney. Why pay a investigator on top of a attorney because the sole qualification Jim is referring to is that they be democrat. Didn't mention a independent did he. I see a bias if you don't ok. Give it to Plowman and let him work his magic for us!
Janie Oldham October 26, 2012 at 06:11 AM
What does the LCRC got to do with it? Nothing.
David Weintraub October 26, 2012 at 01:37 PM
What does the LCRC have to do with it? Other than the fact that they treat Mr. Delgaudio like the second coming of Jesus, nothing. Did you know that at meetings he sits up front with the Executive Committee as if he's a member? He owns that committee and they own him.
joe brewer October 26, 2012 at 01:42 PM
omg! Seating arrangements are the new criteria for ferreting out bad guys
David Weintraub October 26, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Do you condone Mr. Delgaudio's behavior, Joe? Is that behavior something that you would want as the face of your political party, if you have one?
joe brewer October 26, 2012 at 04:00 PM
My politics are not the subject here. Neither are Eugene's politics. You have stated that he is guilty of breaking campaign laws, that the BOS is involved with a cover up, that only a democrat could investigate and bring credibility to this all I have seen from your Real Advocate is a e-mail where Eugene is being himself, a ass. What I think comes into question is whether this is a witch-hunt by David, Jonathan Weintraub and the Millers. I question your politics because of the attacks on Delgaudio before Ms. Mateer had the courage to blow the whistle. I do vote and have ever since I was of age and it's none of your business who I would want as the face of my political party. Furthermore anyone who votes for someone because of the party they belong too or the color of their skin is beyond stupid!
David Weintraub October 26, 2012 at 04:23 PM
joe, you may be confusing what I or Real Advocate said with what someone else said. Although I have the same concerns as do many others about the single party composition of the board in charge of investigating one of their own, we have never said that "only a democrat" could credibly investigate. Question my "politics" all you like - the fact remains that without this citizen-initiated investigation, no one would even know that Chairman York had failed to share the evidence he had with the prosecutors, and that the "opinion" rendered by CA Stamos was only that she hadn't seen enough evidence to have an opinion. If you don't understand that, if you think that all that Real Advocate has done is to reveal that nasty email, then I would have to say that you are willfully not paying attention. Now Scott York is trying to claim that the prosecutors should have gone on their own hunting expedition for the evidence that he, York, already had: "York said that he had asked Mateer for copies of the records for his own reference. 'The question is, did the Commonwealth’s Attorney pick up the phone and call [Mateer]?' he said in an interview. '[Donna Mateer] has all the original documents. The question is what a Commonwealth’s Attorney would do if they are going to take a complaint and look at it. Wouldn’t they follow up? I’m not a prosecutor, that’s their job.'” I don't imagine that those prosecutors are very happy with Scott York this morning.
David Weintraub October 26, 2012 at 05:11 PM
But joe, you are quite correct that this isn't about anyone's politics. It's about behavior.
joe brewer October 26, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Oh then Jim is the real advocate for a democrat to head the investigation. Hopefully the attornet did just that ask for additional info. The hunting expedition if York said that about the evidence don't hunt. If in fact he held back then Clarke should have him and Eugene recuse themselves and let the board clear this up. Looked at the RA site nothing new today.
David Weintraub October 26, 2012 at 09:30 PM
"Looked at the RA site nothing new today." Sure there is. In fact, we linked to a document that answers your precise question.
joe brewer October 26, 2012 at 09:35 PM
I must have missed it what is the addy?
joe brewer October 26, 2012 at 09:43 PM
just looked again usin lydias address listed above, I don't see it.
David Weintraub October 26, 2012 at 09:46 PM
http://www.realadvocate.org/blog0/foia-results-stamos/ I just noticed it's linked to in comments from another post. I can understand why you didn't see it. Sorry about that.
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